Tenants Beware of Rental Scams

We’d like to make all our Preston Baker clients aware of a potential scam that is affecting current and potential tenants.

Fraudsters are targeting vulnerable people looking to rent.

They are creating false listings using the photos that we, and other estate agents use to advertise our properties. They are then advertising these properties to rent without letting fees, typically below market value for similar rentals in that particular area.

As the rental price is so attractive it is leading tenants to make rash decisions with their money in order to secure the non-existent rental property.

In all cases, any attempt to view the property is met with some form of excuse from the “Landlord” or “Agent”. Typically, the “Landlord” is abroad and unable to provide access to the property for viewings.

The tenant is then led to believe that if they make payment to the “Landlord”, that the keys to the property will be couriered to them. This of course, never happens.

Typically, the fake landlord is asking for payment to be made via Western Union or PayPal.

BE CAREFUL

If you are unable to view a property before you buy or rent. Then tread carefully. That should raise huge alarm bells.

If you are being asked to make payments abroad, or through a company like Western Union or PayPal. Again, this could be a sign that something is amiss.  

If you see a property for rent online, perform a search on the major property portals like Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket and see if it is listed there through a legitimate agent. Go to the property itself and see if there is a "To Let" board outside, if so, contact the agent on the board. If you see the same property listed in several places, and one price is substantially cheaper than the others, there is a high chance that particular listing is a scam.

Legitimate Landlords are well aware of the rental values their properties can attract. It is highly unlikely that a landlord would list a property hundreds of pounds below the average for properties in that area.

If something feels too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be conned by people that would take advantage of your trusting nature.

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